You are here:  

China expo will help alleviate unemployment in Kenya,December 07, 2019 Adjust font size:


Job applicants visit a stand at a career fair of Chinese companies in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 29, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

Like any other developing country, Kenya is currently grappling with high levels of unemployment, particularly among its youth. 

According to a survey released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in 2018, over 7 million Kenyans, comprising 9.3% of the population, are unemployed. The report says that 9 out of 10 unemployed Kenyans are 35 years old and below. 

In Kenya, the rate of unemployment is measured by the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the total labour force. The high youth unemployment rate is attributed to a challenging economic environment, and most of the population aged between 20 and 24 years is still yet to find productive work.

To solve the unemployment crisis, President Uhuru Kenyatta is banking on growing Kenya's manufacturing sector in his government's development blueprint, the Big Four Agenda, and its precursor Vision 2030. He hopes that the growth of this sector will lead to an exponential increase in the number of jobs in Kenya. 

Another major plank in the strategy to create more jobs is to increase the contribution of manufacturing in Kenya's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 9.5% in 2017, to 15% by 2022. The government also intends to fast track the growth of small and medium enterprises from 11.8% to 20%.

It is against this backdrop that the three-day China-Kenya Industrial Capacity Exposition was held recently in the capital city, Nairobi, from November 26 to 29. This annual Expo is an offshoot of the 2018 Beijing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit, which opened an ambitious chapter in China-Africa cooperation. 

People visit the booths during the China-Kenya Industrial Capacity Cooperation Expo in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 26, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

This year's event was a unique platform for both the public and private sectors from the two countries to explore cooperation in areas that can accelerate Kenya's economic development and transformation. 

As a national-level platform for investment and trade, the expo is an exhibition of top Chinese brands, products, and technologies in various fields. Furthermore, it is a valuable opportunity for Africa to establish trade relations with leading Chinese companies, and obtain first-hand information on how to do business with China.

Targeted sectors include infrastructure, energy, information and communication technology (ICT), machinery and equipment, transportation and logistics, and agricultural processing machinery. As many as 83 mega-enterprises from China participated in the Nairobi expo. 

In addition to expanding Kenya's trade and industrial capacity, China also continues to contribute immensely to direct job creation. Indeed, one of the highlights of the expo is the China-Kenya Job Fair that provides a platform for Kenyan youth to interact with potential employers. 

The job fair also held business matchmaking sessions in the infrastructure, agriculture and agro-processing, ICT, transportation, automobiles, and machinery industries.

According to a McKinsey Report, there are over 400 Chinese businesses operating in Kenya, creating an estimated 130,000 jobs. These companies have played an important role in accelerating the country's social and economic transformation.

During this year's expo, Chinese companies received 350 resumes, and offered jobs to 97 applicants on the first day. Statistics from the event show that 30 Chinese enterprises operating in Kenya offered over 200 positions at the fair.

In October 2018, a consortium of more than 90 multinational Chinese companies operating in Kenya under the Kenya China Economic Trade Association held a career fair. The companies offered hundreds of jobs to Kenyan youth, and promised to continue providing quality employment opportunities as part of their business development strategies.

China's construction of major infrastructural projects has also absorbed large numbers of local labor, which has helped to reduce the rising unemployment rate. A good example is the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), the biggest project since Kenya's independence in 1963.

Kenyan workers of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) commuter train take a selfie at the Chinese embassy in Kenya, Nairobi, Nov. 23, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

According to the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which was contracted to build the SGR, the project generated about 72,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly, since August 2013. In addition, the company trained nearly 30,000 personnel in both infrastructure development and management. 

In an effort to grow the country's economy, the Kenyan government has opened its doors for Chinese investors to consider joint ventures with their Kenyan counterparts, or investments through Public Private Partnerships.

Currently, Kenya is focusing on the Agenda Four priority areas namely, agriculture, manufacturing, affordable housing, and universal health care for all. 

The expo and other bilateral exchanges and cooperation between China and Kenya at all levels are expected to contribute immensely to Kenya's industrialization and modernization initiatives. This will create much-needed employment opportunities for Kenya's ever-growing population.

Stephen Ndegwa is a communication specialist and analyst on China-Africa affairs. 

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of

If you would like to contribute, please contact us at


About Us | Site Map | Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000  
京ICP证 040089号 网络传播视听节目许可证号:0105123 京公网安备110108006329号 京网文[2011]0252-085号